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Maker Series - MakerMobile

1. featuring different working methods and uses of materials 2. showcasing makers 3. promoting prototype projects 4. exploring shops and workspaces Follow Maker Series on MakerSeries.

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1. featuring different working methods and uses of materials

2. showcasing makers

3. promoting prototype projects

4. exploring shops and workspaces

Follow Maker Series on MakerSeries.ca

Name: Simon Lyons

Company:MakerMobile

Twitter: @MakerMobile

What is MakerMobile?

MakerMobile is a unique mobile workspace, classroom and creative studio. On board, we carry a range of tools, supplies and our own growing range of kits. Custom made folding desks accommodate up to ten workshop participants, each with their own Raspberry Pi computer and a LCD display which can be rapidly stowed for non-computer based activities. We've worked hard to really maximize the space in our truck.

Tell us a bit about your background and how the idea of MakerMobile came about.

I taught high school physics and math in Vancouver for 5 years before co-founding MakerMobile with three other people. During my last year of teaching I found myself thinking about equipping a mobile workshop and developing a complementary curriculum that would excite and motivate young people around technology and engineering. The other co-founders all have very different backgrounds but we all had experience in education or youth work and a belief in the value of hands-on learning.

Why was it important to you to start MakerMobile?

My personal motivation is to share the knowledge of the fields I most enjoy working in: electronics, physics, engineering design and physical computing. Too often in education the light at the end of the tunnel is a barely visible dot. I think it's fun and inspiring for people to grasp a subject area from the applications point of view, or perhaps by getting some help with a longer term project of their own.

What were your biggest struggles in getting this idea off the ground?

Just defining the initial offering in terms of courses, pricing and logistics was hard. In many ways it's only really crystallizing now. It's amazing how tweaking a parameter can really affect how people perceive you.

How is it different than other maker spaces?

True mobile workspaces are few and far between. There are quite a few mobile maker labs that have a 3D printer, a laser cutter or what-have-you and give demonstrations, but mobile spaces that bring people inside and teach them are a rarity.

What is your biggest challenge right now?

We need to find a secure off-street parking spot as we've had to leave the property that has hosted us for the past year. This is a big deal for us as we need to keep the truck and its contents safe. We're hopeful that a local business (or school, or church) will step up and offer us a spot in a fenced yard somewhere in Vancouver.

http://www.makermobile.org/parking-appeal

Who are your audience?

So far it has turned out that we've worked mainly with school-age kids but we've plenty of ideas for content that will interest makers, hackers and creative professionals.

How can people get involved?

Good question. We lost one of our founding four to California this summer, so if you are interested in co-developing and delivering STEAM-type content there could be a spot here for you. Contact us through the website if this sounds like something you would enjoy!

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